by: The Chahrour Family
Lucy, Nolan and Isla’s grandfather, Chaker, is from Lebanon. Although we eat Lebanese food pretty regularly, when we drive to Wisconsin every Christmas and celebrate with some of our family, we always make some there too.
Source: Lucy, Isla, and Nolan’s grandfather Chaker
olive oil/za’atar (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (or up to 400 if you are making other things). If you can, use a grill – it tastes way better from the grill – to a medium high heat.
- Wash the eggplant and prick it with a fork or a knife all over – if you don’t your eggplant will explode and you will have a mess and no baba ganoush, and no one wants that.
- Put in on the grill or in the oven. You can use a baking dish in the oven but a lot of times I just put it on the rack – on the grill you just put it on the rack. Oven: I leave the eggplant in the oven for about an hour, flipping it once if you want. You want your eggplant cooked all the way and very soft. It sounds a bit hollow when you tap it. It’s way better to over cook it than undercook it. Grill: On the grill you need to turn the eggplant every 5 or 10 minutes. It will get charred and soft and that’s what you want. It can take 20 to 30 minutes, longer if you have a big eggplant.
- While your eggplant is cooling, mince some garlic (less is better than more, maybe a 1/2 clove to a whole clove) and squish it with some salt (maybe 1/4 tsp of Kosher salt). Squeeze 1/2 lemon and mix in the garlic and salt and let it sit.
- Cut off the stem of the eggplant and peel the skin from that end, it’s easier to start there. Mash the eggplant with a fork and mix in the lemon juice.
- Add in tahini to taste (start with about 2 tablespoons). In our family we had someone who was allergic to sesame seeds, so we just omitted it and the za’atar for her. It’s really good either way. Adjust the lemon, salt, and tahini to taste. Top with a little olive oil and some za’atar if you prefer. Za’atar is a spice mixture you can find at some stores or order off the internet. It’s really good on lots of things – chicken, fish, pita bread, man’oushe (Lebanese pizza), hummus, etc. It’s made with sumac, sesame seeds, and other spices. Lucy loves za’atar on buttered toast. 🙂